Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Papers: Technology and an Aging Workforce; Maximize the Gains from Longevity and Long Working Life


Technology and an Aging Workforce; Maximize the Gains from Longevity and Long Working Life
Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Seoul, Republic of Korea
17–18 May 2018

Many countries in Asia are aging at unprecedented speed. Although some economies remain young, with working-age populations projected to grow, no Asian country will be safe from the risk of growing old before becoming rich. Meanwhile, changes on the technology front are rapid, creating new jobs while making others redundant. For aging economies, the share of elderly workers is on the rise and many of them hope to acquire new skills and familiarity with up-to-date technology to remain in the workforce beyond their current retirement age. For young economies, the challenges may be even more complex given technology’s potential for labor substitution.

Young or old, Asia faces slowing productivity growth. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, productivity growth has decelerated across Asia as economic catch-up with countries at the global technology frontier has stalled over the past decade. Technological innovation provides solutions to a declining and aging workforce by saving on labor inputs and helping workers perform tasks. It is important to harness the potential of new technologies to maintain and enhance productivity by extending the working life of senior workers and better equipping the young workforce for work that contributes to higher economic growth.

The Asian Development Bank will hold two events presenting empirical papers to deepen understanding of the implications of population aging and technology on productivity among countries in Asia. The inception workshop, scheduled for 17-18 May in Seoul, will explore this emerging research agenda through presentations of innovative papers by invited scholars and experts. The second event, a policy forum to be scheduled in the third quarter of 2018, will share and discuss policy-relevant research findings with a wide audience, including scholars, practitioners, and policy makers in developing countries.

We invite submissions of papers that examine the empirical or theoretical links among technology, aging, demographic changes, and productivity, as well as the policy implications for countries and regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.

Especially welcome are papers in economics, business, and related fields, using micro or macro data, as well as country and/or sector cases, and covering the following types of issues:

  • Impact of demographic change and technology on labor productivity (or any of the causal relationships among the three), including on youth and elderly workers.
    • The role of old, new, and emerging technologies in boosting productivity, particularly among young and aging workers, and addressing other challenges arising from structural changes in the labor market and labor force composition.
    • Job creation and substitution effects of technology, particularly focusing on a young and aging workforce.
  • Patterns and determinants of labor force participation and productivity among elderly workers.
  • Evaluations and case studies of educational and vocational programs (including life-long learning) to increase productivity and employability of workers for “future jobs”.
  • Education/training needs of developing countries to cope with technological advancement.
  • Role of national policies and regional cooperation in addressing the challenges associated with demographic change, advancing technology, productivity and jobs in areas such as human capital and skills development, access to technology, and cross-border labor mobility.

Important dates:

  • Deadline for submission of proposal: 31 March 2018
  • Conference date: 17–18 May 2018


Interested authors should submit a draft paper or a two-page proposal to Aiko Kikkawa Takenaka ([email protected]) and Aleli Rosario ([email protected]). This is an open-ended call for proposals, but authors who wish to be considered as presenters for the inception workshop are requested to submit the proposal by 31 March. A selection committee will screen the papers for presentation. Authors whose papers have been selected will be notified by 10 April. For each accepted manuscript, ADB will cover economy class travel cost, accommodation, and daily subsistence allowance of one presenter in accordance with ADB guidelines for the duration of the conference.

The Selection Committee will comprise:

  • Asian Development Bank (Cyn-Young Park and Aiko Kikkawa Takenaka)
  • Asian Development Bank Institute (Peter Morgan)
  • Korea University (Jong-Wha Lee)
  • Association of Pacific Rim Universities (TBA)